Posted by: marthabernie | February 5, 2016

6 VESEY PLACE KINGSTOWN (Dun Laoghaire), August 1903

014x1Update as of 2-4-16:  The person who now lives next door at 5 Vesey Place indicates that Number 5 was owned by the Shirleys about the time this photo was taken…so instead of visitors from afar, the photos were taken when the neighbors came to visit.  As far as known, Paul McGuinness still owns the property but it has been leased.

NOTE: Since posting below a couple of years ago, I have was contacted by someone who said he stayed in this house several times and that it was owned by Paul McGuinness, the former manager of the Irish band, U2.  Don’t know if that is still the case, but thought I would update.  I bought these two photos on eBay.  They were pasted into a photo album and there are other photos on the reverse side of Somerset and Cornwall, England.  Also a Mrs. Halliwell in Bournemouth.  I bought the two photos here because they show the back garden and visitors at Number 6 Vesey Place, Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), County Dublin, Ireland.  The ladies standing from left are Miss Chafy, Mrs. Hugh Chafy and Mrs. Arthur Shirley.  I did a quick search on the Internet and found that Hugh Chafy’s mother’s maiden name was Shirley, so these are probably English relations getting together in Ireland for a summer holiday along the Irish coast.  Or perhaps they were visiting a friend or other relatives…?

The second photo from left is Miss Chafy, Mrs. Arthur Shirley, Commander A. Shirley and Mrs. Hugh Chafy, and both photos were taken in August, 1903.

I searched out 6 Vesey Place in Dun Laoghaire and drove by the house, which is still standing, of course.  There was no place to park on the street, so I did not try to contact the inhabitants to give them copies of the photos.  But perhaps another time I will mail the photos ahead of time and see if I hear from the present occupants.  It would be wonderful if the house is still owned by descendants of the Chafy and Shirley families, but I think that’s a long shot.



  1. I know this house and have stayed there many times. It has been owned since the 1980’s by Paul McGuinness who was the manager of the rock band U2.


    • I have thought about stopping by and giving the current owner the photos, if they would be interested. However, since I don’t know when I will be in Ireland next, I could mail them … Does Paul McGuinness still live in the house?


  2. I have just seen you photo. It is great. I live in 5 Vesey place and, as I recall, when I look up the 1901 Census, Commander and Mrs. Shirley lived in our house at that time so they may have been in visiting their neighbours!


    • Thanks for the information…I would have thought they were visitors from someplace else…someone wrote and said that Number 6 is owned by Martin McGuinness. Is that correct?


  3. I think you mean Paul McGuinness who used to manage U2. Yes, I believe so but it has been let as a rental property for many years. It is interesting that if they are all part of the Shirley family, what they were doing in the garden on no 6 rather than our garden but I guess we will never know….thanks.


    • Yes…the man who used to manage U2. Thanks!


  4. We lived in 6 Vesey place from 1969-84 (selling it to Paul McGuinness). Unfortunately we knew/know nothing about the history but many thanks for posting these. Amazing.


    • You are very welcome. Someone wrote earlier saying it was still owned, I think, by Paul McGuinness. These early photos were recently published in a book by Tom Conlon: Victorian Dun Laoghaire, A Town Divided. It’s on sale in Ireland and on Amazon as well. Great book, full of photos from the Victorian Kingstown/Dun Laoghaire period.


  5. Hi again, looking at these photos again, I think they might have been taken in our garden in no. 5 rather than in no. 6. I found a royal navy record for Commander Arthur Horatio Shirley which recorded him as living at no. 6 but I think that was a mistake as the 1901 census is clear thar he lived at no 5 and another family lived at no 6. I wonder? Anyway, I would love to buy (or get copies if you would prefer not to part with them) these photos from you and put them up on our wall as part of the history of the home we love so much. I tried to get copies from the e photos but the expert photo guys said they were not clear enough. Thanks so much. Fiona


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